According to Wikipedia, on April 21, 1855 Mayor Levi Boone, a great-nephew of Daniel Boone, renewed enforcement of an old local ordinance mandating that taverns be closed on Sundays. Boone, a Baptist and temperance advocate, believed that the Sabbath was profaned by having drinking establishments open on Sunday.
The move was seen as targeting Germans and Irish Catholics, who had immigrated to Chicago in large numbers during the previous fifteen years. (I'm pretty sure I had Irish ancestors in Chicago at the time, but I'm also pretty sure they spent their Sundays in church.)
On April 21, after several tavern owners were arrested for selling beer on Sunday, protesters clashed with police near the Cook County Court House.
Angry immigrants stormed the downtown area and the mayor ordered the swing bridges opened to stop further waves of protesters from crossing the Chicago River. This left some trapped and police fired at those stuck on the Clark Street Bridge. The riot resulted in at least one death and about sixty arrests.
The prohibition was repealed after Boone was turned out of office the following year.
Since the Germans in Chicago were largely concentrated on the city's North Side (and since we were just in Bridgeport recently), we decided to take our weekly Hike up there last night in remembrance of the riot.
Originally opened in 1908, Lane Tech is one of the city's oldest and largest high schools. The current location was completed in 1934 and, despite its name, is now one of the city's eleven selective enrollment schools that prepare students for college. Lane boasts among its alumni such diverse luminaries as Eric's sister, Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller, the ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, former Governor Rod Blagojevich and singer Francesco Paolo LoVecchi. Never heard of that last guy? He was known professionally as Frankie Laine. Where do you suppose he got that last name?
(If you want to read more about Lane Tech, click here and here.)
But before I get into that, it's worth recalling Riverview Park, which stood on the patch of land just south of Lane from 1904 to 1967. The amusement park held an almost mythic place in my family's history and although I never got to go there I heard many stories from my older siblings about such rides as the Bobs and Shoot the Chutes, which I swear you could see from the Kennedy Expressway.
Eric suggested we try Jefferson Park for next week's Hike and I have to admit it's one community area we have yet to explore. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather!